The Impression Management of Abusers

Crucial info here. My thoughts about a term called “impression management” are clear after reading this article. (Written by  for NYMag.com.) It features Cedric Anderson, who abused then murdered his new wife, Karen Smith, and how social media can give clues to mistreatment in others’ lives. Have a read, and then hop back over for my summary.
This is the first I’ve seen (and it’s been years of research) with reference to “impression management” employed by abusers. What is it? Simply put, it’s laying on a bit too thickly their love and adoration for their girlfriend/wife/victim, and their over-the-moon happiness with her, especially through social media. Humble brags. Rosy anecdotes. And it’s an overabundance of this kind of content, completely disproportionate to other kinds.
 
KSmith
Photo: Courtesy of Facebook/cedric.anderson.351

It’s all part of that manipulation, not just of her, but of everyone, so the abuser will seem kind and loving and innocent, among other things. A point near the end of the article was that the victim usually gets caught up in this impression management herself. Why? Conditioning. Brainwashing. Even, perhaps, a semi-conscious effort to prevent friends and loved ones from learning the truth. She’s ignoring the truth herself, after all, because who wants to face that kind of reality? A victim, then, might help foster this idea that her relationship is perfect, so romantic, that she and her partner are “meant to be,” and this is only one example of how much a beating her psyche takes.

 
She also minimizes her abuser’s behaviors the way he does, as well as the effects they have on her, because she has fallen into the trap of believing him when he says every problem is her fault, that she’s the illogical and unreasonable one, that she has no intelligence or common sense, that she’s too sensitive, crazy, prone to overreaction. More psychological damage.
 
Did you know it takes a victim an average of seven tries before she can successfully leave her abuser without going back? Those twisty mind games, they’re like boomerangs.
 
The woman in this article, Karen, she tried leaving. She’d moved out, and only months after wedding her abuser. She might have been on the right path but then he killed her before killing himself. This is an extreme example of how far abuse can go, but it is by no means a rare one.
 
More than three women worldwide, EVERY DAY, are killed by their husband or boyfriend (2016 statistic). And then we’ve got all the other women who are otherwise abused. So let me ask you, when does it stop? When do we demand better?
Pay attention to those around you. We all know social media is a place many post only the best of the best, but there are telltale signs — like impression management by abusers — when something could be seriously wrong. Follow your intuition. Speak up. Make a difference.
#enddomesticabuse #educate #advocate #wakeup

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